Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In the Sketchbook: Indochina

March 6-27, 2014
We returned last Thursday from Southeast Asia. As I raised my babies amidst the horrors of the Vietnam War, the thought of traveling there never entered my mind. The war is long over, many of our community are resettled here from Vietnam, and the IBM Retirees Club was offering a tour of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, with an optional extension to Bangkok, Thailand. We decided that this would be our big 2014 trip. Bob had never been on a formal tour (we are do-it-yourselfers) but was game for our first visit to Asia.
A 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, a 3 hour layover, a 2 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon to anyone over 50) and a group of 21 seasoned travelers assembled at the New World Hotel with guide April Smith from the Collette Foundation. To follow was a complex journey into cultures that I knew only in passing and history told by those who own it. We would be kept very busy everyday without any real time to capture drawings in the moment. I decided to take pens, my tiny Koi watercolor set, and a 5" x 7" sketchbook. With ink, my drawing errors are honestly recorded, and there is a freshness in paintings displaying all the artists marks. I would draw and paint by looking at the viewer of my point and shoot camera in those rare moments when we had an hour free.

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